(A li'l appropriate background music via Youtube.) "Although conscious of their impending doom, at this point, both combatants feel they have nothing left to lose...
After years of exchanging insults and vows of personal destruction, all is said and done...
The only recourse left is..." (Cue fight starting.)
~Narration excerpt from "Endgame"
For those that don't "get it," this is a reference to the famous & controversial "Endgame" story arc in issue #50 of the "Sonic the Hedgehog" comic book series by Archie Comics.
(I'm a fan of that series, regardless of it ups & downs, so spare me the fanboy-ish "bashing" please.) It's now available in the "Sonic Archives: Vol. 13" book.
Even though this is a comic book parody/homage, I actually wanted this to look pretty "serious," and darker then most stuff I've drawn. (Sense I mostly do funny/goofy/random stuff, I thought I'd try something different.)
While Mario's not really known for being "dark & serious," and being light-hearted and comical, if you look at some of the games they do have their darker and serious moments to. (Look at "Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door," or the Super Mario Galaxy games for instance.)
The series always knows how to balance the dark with the light, without being to gritty, or to cutesy/happy.
I also used Bowser's "King Koopa" design from the old Super Mario cartoons by DiC, and the old short-lived Valiant "Nintendo Comics System" comics. I felt that fit, sense during the earlier days of the Sonic comic (including "Endgame") they used the DiC Sonic cartoon design of Robotnik, so it just seemed appropriate.
Plus, I feel King Bowser Koopa's cartoon design isn't quite as beloved as the Americanized "Julian Ivo Robotnik" design, (when it comes to fanart) and needs more love. I always liked that design, and personality for Bowser so I tried to make him look accurate, but also a li'l more "threatening" here so I added more spikes to his shell, and perhaps a li'l to much detail on the hand.
As for Mario I tried to make him look more like how Yoichi Kotabe draws him. (That's the guy who illistrates the original NES Mario games for Nintendo.)
In the original drawing I accidently gave Mario 5 knuckles, (something I oddly didn't notice after inking this) so I had to erase one digitally in MSPaint to make it look right.
Regardless of some of the flaws of this piece, (I didn't make the background energy circle big enough for one thing.) I'm actually quite pleased with how it turned out, and it looks like one of my best "Mario" fanart pieces I've put up on DA.
(Wich is great, 'cause I don't consider myself a "good artist" in any way. lol)
BTW that's not "lava" that's purple energy swirling around them.